I've been looking almost since I started this blog for information on Arthur Umanoff, finally deciding that there was nothing to be found. However, just yesterday, I ran across a blog on the subject started by Jonathan Goldstein in June of 2012. (I should have known that Jonathan would have already uncovered any information out there.) Unfortunately, the last post on that blog was in July of 2012. I'm speculating that Jonathan, who has been writing a book about Paul McCobb, has been too busy on that project to spend much time on Umanoff. If you're not familiar with Jonathan's outstanding research on McCobb, you might like to check out Planner, Perimeter, Predictor, Paul McCobb.
But...back to Umanoff. A little more searching on my part turned up a comment made by Jonathan in a Design Addict thread back in 2011. It has as much information about Umanoff as I have seen anywhere. According to Jonathan, Umanoff was a graduate of Pratt University in the early 1950s. Around that same time, he became a partner in a company called Post Modern Ltd., where he was involved in every phase of the design process. The designs that came out of Post Modern were distributed by the Elton Company, which also distributed the designs of Tony Paul, a partner in the company.
The wrought iron and slat chairs, tables, bars and bar carts that most people recognize as Umanoff designs came out of his work with Shaver Howard, a company for which he designed into the 1970s. A bit of a controversy arose in the 1960s when Storkline Inc. took some of these designs and made them child-size. The chairs were fine, but the miniature bar raised some eyebrows. Umanoff responded by calling it a "milk bar."
Also in the 1960s, Umanoff designed furniture for Madison Furniture Industries and designed clocks for the Howard Miller Clock Company. In the 1970s he designed for Directional, Thonet, Dillingham, Rouse/Jackson and David Morgan.
I hope Jonathan finds time to get back to the Umanoff blog. I'm eager for the next installment.
From designaddict.com, midcenturia.com and arthurumanoff.com
|Hanging wall desk by Umanoff for Elton|
|Early plywood swivel desk chair by Umanoff for Elton|
|Slat desk and chair for Raymor|
|Swing chair for Elton|
|Iron, wood and masonite cabinet for Elton|